The ONLY Rule in Blogging

Darren “Problogger” Rowse put up a post on the 11 definitive rules of blogging.  I think I can easily add them here, without risking his ire, or that of his lawyers.  The 11 definitive rules of blogging, according to Darren Rowse:


He argues that there aren’t any set in stone rules of blogging. Each niche, blog, and blogger has their own way of going about things and each needs to find their own way to getting to where they want to be.  And, while I completely agree with that train of thought, there is one definitive rule of blogging that must be adhered to for real blogging success.  (sadly, it’s also one that I break rather regularly.)

The ONLY rule in blogging: You’ve got to blog.

That’s it.  If you don’t follow that rule, you’re blog will cease to exist, any traffic that you’ve had built up will dry up, and all those links you amassed will age and lose their search engine luster.

Now, I know that Darren was likely making that rule an assumption in his post, but for some, it’s more than an assumption.  It has to be a rule.  I do my best to not break it too often, but as you’ll likely notice there are several gaps in the archive timeline here.  I can vouch for the effects of the broken rule all too well.

If you want to be a successful blogger, follow Darren’s advice and find your own way to the blog you want to be.  Write your style, your content, and make your blog your online home.  Be comfortable in it’s skin.  But, follow this rule.  You’ve got to blog.  People don’t come back because you have great archives.  They come back because you have fresh content, regularly.

Is There a Best Time to Publish a Blog Post?

Depending on which blog you’re reading at any given time, you will likely read a completely different opinion on when to publish a blog post.  Some will argue that you should post right away in the morning so that you’re front and center when all the coffee drinking, early risers are opening up their morning reading tabs.  Others will say you should post late at night so that you get in front of the “oldest first” queues for those same morning readers.  Others might say you should publish several posts a day for different time zones around the world.  Yet more might say that they only post at the end of the week and over the weekend when the competition is lighter and they can command more attention.

But, this post isn’t about what others might say.  It’s about what I say. (It’s my blog, I can do that.)  And, here’s my take on publishing times.  It’s completely up to you.  Only about half of my posts are, like this one is, published in the future.  The other half are usually published when I finish them, so they are at whatever time of the day that inspiration hit for the day.  Of the ones that I future post, a majority of them are published mid-morning.  For me, that works better.  I find that if I post too early (<10am Central) the traffic is much lighter.  I think this is likely because the post gets buried under all the 8-5 west coast bloggers who are posting stuff right away in the morning.  If I post late at night, it also seems like traffic is lighter.  My theory there is that many people read their blogs and such at work.  (Shhh.  I won’t tell.)  Which is why I don’t like posting on the weekends either.

If I do future post, I tend to post somewhere in the middle of the day.  Somewhere between 10 am and 2 pm is where I usually put them.  And that seems to work quite well for me.  But, results may vary.  You may find that your readers are predominantly east coasters and like to read in the early morning before work.  You may find that your readers are overseas, in which case their schedule will be drastically different from yours and you may want to future post late at night or very early in the morning.

What I’m trying to say is that there is no hard and fast rule about when you should post.  You can’t template your blog to someone else’s blogging experience.  You’ve got to forge your own path and find the methods that work best for you.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t listen to some one else and try what they suggest.  That’s how we all learn.  But, in the end, what you do with your site may be different.

P.S. if you want to read a great post on some blogging rules that are not worth following, check out Lisa Barone’s post on The 5 Blogging Rules Killing Your Readership.